‘Others cannot have a veto on our choices’: Jaishankar at Quad Think Tank Forum | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Others cannot have a veto on our choices’: Jaishankar at Quad Think Tank Forum

Feb 24, 2024 05:07 PM IST

S Jaishankar said that the Quad has become a significant platform for four large resident democracies that want to ensure an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

The Quad is here to stay and grow and one of the key messages of the grouping formed by India, Australia, Japan and the US is that “others cannot have a veto on our choices”, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar at the Raisina Dialogue 2024 in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar at the Raisina Dialogue 2024 in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

Over the past five years, the Quad has become a significant platform for four large resident democracies that want to ensure an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, and the grouping is against spheres of influence, Jaishankar said in an apparent reference to China’s growing assertiveness while addressing the first Quad Think Tank Forum.

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Australia foreign minister Penny Wong, Japan foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa and US deputy secretary of state Kurt Campbell, who also addressed the forum, emphasised that the Quad was about creating resilience and offering more choices to partners of the Quad across the region.

Jaishankar said there are three clear messages about the Quad: “One, the Quad is here to stay. Two, the Quad is here to grow. And three, the Quad is here to contribute.” The grouping is an initiative that makes the Indo-Pacific and the whole world more free and open and much respectful of international law and a rules-based order.

Also Read | Finding equilibrium in ties a test for both India, China: S Jaishankar

The Quad also reflects the growth of a multipolar order, and is a “post-alliance and post-cold war thinking” that is against spheres of influence. It stands for a collaborative, and not unilateral, approach and is a statement that “others cannot have a veto on our choices”, he added.

With India set to host the Quad Leaders Summit this year, the think tank forum was organised alongside the Raisina Dialogue, the country’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, so that experts could brainstorm on the future course and focus areas of the grouping. Jaishankar said the forum was also part of preparations for the summit.

The original idea of the Quad was put forward by then Japanese premier Shinzo Abe in 2006 but the grouping unravelled within a year before being resumed at the level of officials in 2017. Jaishankar said the emergence of this new version of Quad was due to changes in India’s relations with the three other partners.

Also Read | US House passes Quad bill to intensify cooperation

“With the US, we put behind ideological hesitations of history. With Japan, we gave a longstanding goodwill much more practical shape. And with Australia, we actually made a real beginning in seriousness,” he said.

The Quad is there for global good and the global commons, and it is propelled by a change in the global order that requires more collaboration among the like-minded, he added. The Quad has grown rapidly because it is a flexible, nimble, responsive and open-minded enterprise, and its activities include maritime security, cyber security, counter-terrorism, infrastructure, connectivity, disaster response, critical technologies, communications and space cooperation.

Jaishankar said in the realm of critical technologies, Quad is working to build resilient supply chains for telecom, cyber security, semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

“By pooling together our technical expertise, we are actually enhancing the ability of the Indo-Pacific countries to select smart and reliable options,” he said. “We have also commenced discussions about deploying digital public infrastructure to deliver public goods in the Indo-Pacific.”

Under the Quad’s Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative, commercial satellite data is being used to counter illicit maritime activities and respond to climate-related and humanitarian events. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) seeks to offer alternative economic engagement mechanisms and is making progress in areas such as supply chains, sustainability and digital economies.

Wong said the Australia-India relationship has become more consequential at a time when strategic competition, climate change and economic disruption are reshaping the region. Practical cooperation within the Quad provides an opportunity to contribute to the region’s resilience of region, and the four countries have a vision of an Indo-Pacific free from intimidation and coercion where disputes are settled in line with international law, she said.

Campbell said the Quad is not about forcing the region to choose between strategic competitors, but “about preserving and creating options so that...countries can make decisions to benefit their people”.

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